GN: Do you think it's getting harder or easier for the small developer these days? It seems there's some give and take.
Tom: I think new options such as Xbox 360 Live Arcade create great new options for small developers. The web is also a great platform, if you can monetize your games. So in general, there are probably more opportunities for small developers than ever. It still feels like an uphill battle, though. The bigger the industry gets, the more the power consolidates with big companies and the harder it gets to have your own share.
GN: Yeah, I don't know if we'll see an independent 5-man game sell millions again the way Wolfenstein 3D did, but it's a big world now with room for the little guy. Do you think download services will fit into your plan for the future? It seems like the retail end of things is still pretty important to you.
Tom: There will always be something cool about having a tangible product; something you can hold in your hands and see on store shelves. We are very interested in download services as well, though. The thing I like about Xbox Live Arcade is that you are still developing something for a console platform and every player has the same experience. If you make your game run well, you know it will run well for everyone.
GN: I guess that's part of the appeal of consoles in general. A lot of people wanted me to ask you what's up with a US release of Alien Hominid for GBA.
Tom: That's a frustrating topic. The GBA version of AH turned out great, it looks and feels almost identical to the console version. The biggest liability seems to be the cart size. AH on the GBA utilizes the largest cart size available for the GBA. As a result, it has the lowest profit margins. Publishers are more interested in games with higher profit margins. The UK version works on a US GBA, though! You can get a copy off eBay.
GN: There's plenty of joints that will ship to the US, too. [Editor's note: I'd like to give Gameplay.com some free advertising. They're quick and cheap. Readers take note.]
So, any interest in the new handhelds? The DS market seems especially receptive to 2D games for whatever reason.
Tom: Yes, plenty of interest there as well! We have some fun ideas for the DS and we having been toying with the PSP. On a semi-related note, Newgrounds.com (birthplace of Alien Hominid) also has a pretty extensive PSP section, where you can download wallpapers, videos and now tons of Flash movies. Having a PSP section helps us determine how receptive the PSP users are to our stuff.